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Unwanted Facial Hair, Hair Removal

By John Lim

What Sparked An Obsession With Body and Facial Hair? Find Out More About Unwanted Facial Hair And The Current Hair Removal Craze.

More and more women are obsessed with removing unwanted facial hair today. It is no surprise that the women in United Kingdom spend "280 million in the quest of hair removal for silky smooth legs, arms, face and more. But what sparks an obsession with body hair? It is probably because of an unkind remark at a vulnerable stage such as early adolescence that may have triggered a preoccupation with a particular feature such as removing unwanted facial hair. Some 30% of women and 12-15% of men are overly concerned with some aspect of their appearance, although an obsession with unwanted facial hair and body hair is fairly uncommon.

Although the current hair removal craze dates back to the 20th century, women and men have been removing body and facial hair throughout history. In fact, today's fashionable techniques for removing unwanted facial hair - waxing, sugaring or threading - were used by Egyptian and Middle-Eastern women thousands of years ago. Other techniques of removing unwanted facial hair, such as shaving with razors, plucking with tweezers and using depilatory creams, date back just as far, if not further. Hair removal methods have stayed basically the same for centuries, but the body parts involved have changed.

Today's trend for smooth legs and armpits started with one of the earlier editions of Harper's Bazaar magazine. It featured a model wearing a sleeveless evening gown - with hairless armpits. The hair removal craze was also aided by the Wilkinson Sword Company who ran an ad campaign in the 1920s to persuade women that underarm hair was unhygienic and unfeminine.

As hemlines rose above the ankles, women in many Western countries started shaving their legs. During the Second World War, a shortage of silk stockings led to the leg hair removal trend.

Recently, there's been the fascination with below-the-belt hair removal, with the 'Brazilian Wax' and the 'Hollywood' feted by a slew of celebrities. The history of hair removal is essentially about fashion. But when is unwanted facial hair and body hair a medical problem? Consult your doctor if you have a sudden increase in body or facial hair, or if your periods are infrequent or your voice has become deeper. The doctor may recommend you to lose weight. This reduces the amount of hormones in your body that cause increased hair growth.

If the problem is severe, the doctor may prescribe hormonally based drugs designed to help rebalance levels of androgens. Such drugs usually take three to six months to work. Although they can reduce the amount of new hair growth, it does not usually change the amount of existing unwanted facial hair. There is also a cream-based medication which can slow unwanted facial hair growth. It can start to work within four to eight weeks although it may take longer. Always refer to your doctor before using any form of medication.

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